A fascinating digital display sits at the center of the Clowes Pavilion’s redesigned courtyard, while other artworks have been re-displayed.
INDIANAPOLIS – Gazing up at the courtyard of the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s latest installation transports you to another world – as outdoor scenes are filmed on the Newfield grounds or abstract paintings dance across the ceiling.
The state-of-the-art digital LED screen at the center of the courtyard in the Clowes Pavilion: The redesigned pavilion is just the beginning of what museum curators hope to open a new chapter for the museum.
The Clowes Pavilion closed in 2018 and reopened last March with several changes. Prior to 2018, the Clowes Pavilion was separate from the rest of the IMA. Guests had to meander through several galleries to gain access to the artwork inside. Now the galleries in the Clowes Pavilion are more easily accessible with two entrances.
Kathryn Haigh, the museum’s chief operating officer, told 13News that the designers hope the courtyard will draw guests into the heart of the pavilion and the Clowes collection.
“One of our goals with the project was to get more people here and then engage them a little bit more so that once they find the Clowes collection they stay a little longer because it’s really worth a significant level of immersion.” said Haigh .
The patio furniture allows guests to relax in the patio at will.
The digital screen component marks the second type of digital experience at IMA. But while the LUME is an immersive gallery that highlights the work of Vincent Van Gogh, the digital elements implemented in the Clowes Pavilion didn’t necessarily draw on this installation for inspiration.
“We have digital artworks in the LUME, but this is a permanent collection gallery. That’s really compelling, and the focus is really on the Clowes collection,” said Haigh. “The digital ceiling was really the final component.”
RELATED: ‘THE LUME’ in Newfields offers a unique yoga experience
According to Haigh, the Clowes Pavilion: Reimagined project took about five years of research and planning.
IMA is currently undergoing a major shift in the way guests interact with artworks in the museum.
In early April 2022, IMA began a series of new installations as part of Global Thematic Displays as the primary organizational tool for arranging artworks within a gallery.
The framework dictates that artworks be grouped by specific themes, rather than by period or aesthetics.
IMA’s first new installation within this framework was Embodied: Human Figures in Art, leading to the Clowes Pavilion galleries.
Time periods take a back seat thematically in both galleries, allowing visitors to see commonalities between artworks across cultures and aesthetics.
“The way the works will be installed or hung in the galleries – at least one Clowes work… in conversation with a non-Clowes work. And these are in the most prominent positions in each gallery, so you’re really concentrating on these when you walk in. That opens up the broader thematic discussion that’s taking place in the galleries,” said Dr. Kjell Wangensteen, Associate Curator for European Art before 1800 at the IMA.
Popular works will remain in the new Clowes Pavilion. These include Rembrandts ‘Self-Portrait” and the tapestry “The Miraculous Draft of Fishes” designed by Raphael.,’ which are now on display alongside Duvor (community cloth) by sculptor El Anatsui.
RELATED: Visit Indiana highlights museums every Hoosier must visit
One gallery in the pavilion pays homage to the diverse facets of femininity, another to the persistence of Greco-Roman aesthetics in modern society, and several others give odes to nature.
Pieces from the Indianapolis Museum of Art are placed alongside those from Clowe’s collection to reflect these specific themes.
dr Annette Schlagenhauff, a curator of European art after 1800, designed the women-focused gallery and said she was particularly careful to include as many women artists as possible in the space.
“It wasn’t very common in Europe a while ago. But we were able to bring other things from other areas of the museum to demonstrate that. We also definitely wanted to put it in a contemporary sense, where the role of women is still kind of a weak society, but it’s gaining voice and influence,” said Schlagenhauff.
IMA curators said they hope the innovation in this new pavilion will mirror what guests can expect at other galleries as reinstallations continue.
Tickets for the Clowes Pavilion are included with IMA tickets, which you can find here.